The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) has fitted what appears to be a new antenna to its frigate Alvand that may be for gathering electronic intelligence (ELINT).
Fitted to the roof of the frigate's bridge on the starboard side, the antenna could be seen in imagery showing the ship during a joint exercise with vessels from China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in the Gulf of Oman on 18 June. It was not seen on Alborz , a second Alvand-class frigate that participated in the exercise.
Further analysis shows that the new antenna was not fitted to Alvand when it attended the India Navy's international fleet review in July 2016, but it was seen on the frigate before it left for South Africa in October. That voyage lasted until March due to problems with its support ship.
The IRIN's three surviving Alvand-class frigates were built in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, but remain the workhorses of the Iranian fleet. Iran has adapted the design for the new frigates it is building, the first of which was commissioned in 2010.
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